The ABCs of open relationships

Posted on 25 September 2023 by Natalia
The ABCs of open relationships
“Let’s open up our relationship”. Just the words alone can cause a flutter of excitement and pique one's curiosity. Beyond the stereotypes and snap judgments, opening up one’s relationship can be an exploration of personal desires and boundaries. But what are open relationships all about, really? Is it just a fleeting trend or a genuine direction in our relationships?
Setting the scene for the uninitiated, open relationships aren't simply about hopping from one bed to the next. It's about communication, trust, and often an understanding of one's self in ways you might not have imagined. Whether you're intrigued, considering it, or just want to get the low-down, join us on this journey through the ABCs of open relationships.

Open relationships: delving deeper into the intricacies

What is an open relationship?

It's not just about having a roster of partners.Opening up one’s relationship to outsiders can be deep dive into understanding our desires and setting clear boundaries, all done with open communication and mutual agreement. Whether it's a series of short-lived trysts or more enduring connections with several partners, there's a spectrum to explore.

How does this differ from other relationship dynamics?

Open relationships are different from polyamory, for example. While the former leans into exploring sensual and sexual experiences, polyamory is centred around building and nurturing multiple loving, committed relationships. And to set the record straight: being in an open relationship doesn't mean that you’re cheating on your partner. In the world of open relationships, honesty and mutual consent are the hallmarks, which is not the case when a partner is unfaithful.
  • Swapping: Perhaps the most recognised practice, where two couples swap partners for intimate encounters.
  • Soft swap: Unlike full swapping, a soft swap allows for touching and flirting between couples, but stops short of full-on penetrative sex outside the original pair.
  • Cuckolding: Here, one partner derives pleasure from watching their significant other engage intimately with someone else.
  • Threesomes: As the name suggests, this involves three individuals. It might be a couple inviting a third party or three unattached individuals.
  • Side-by-side play: Couples involved in this practice engage intimately while in the same room, often deriving pleasure from watching the other couple.

The world of open relationships is diverse, each with its unique dynamics and boundaries. Remember, the key is always mutual consent and clear communication.

Open relationships in the digital age

How the web and dating apps are shaping modern intimacy

Back in the day, those in open relationships largely relied on clubs, private soirées, or good old word-of-mouth to meet partners and seek out new experiences.

Now, thanks to a plethora of dedicated websites and apps, it's a breeze to link up with like-minded souls, brimming with similar desires and curiosities. This digital evolution has made it easier for newcomers to dip their toes in, arming themselves with knowledge before diving into real-world encounters.

Tips for safely navigating the web

  • Protect your identity: Adopt a safe username, be stingy with personal details, and choose pictures that keep your full identity under wraps, avoiding clear faces and identifiable backdrops.
  • Pick trustworthy platforms: Not all sites and apps are made equal. Go for those with sterling reputations and glowing user reviews.
  • Chat before you meet: Engage in ample conversation before any real-world meet-up. Ensure you're vibing well and are on the same page about expectations.
  • Make the first meet-up public: This ensures a level of safety and lets you suss out the person opposite you without undue pressure.
  • Trust your gut: If something feels off or makes you uneasy, don't second guess – back out. Your safety and comfort are paramount.

Remember, the digital realm offers vast opportunities, but like any great adventure, it’s best explored with caution and keen instincts.